Man arrested in California after Massachusetts shooting deaths of woman and her 11-year-old daughter

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Police in California arrested a man wanted in connection with the deaths of a mother and her 11-year-old daughter in Massachusetts and charges against another man who was earlier arrested were upgraded Tuesday to murder.

The latest arrest happened Monday in San Diego during a vehicle stop, nearly a week after Chasity Nunez, 27, and her daughter, Zella Nunez, were shot in a parked SUV in a Worcester neighborhood, police said. They were pronounced dead at a hospital.

The arrest came several hours after the U.S. Marshals Service said it had doubled a reward in connection with the search for the man, from $5,000 to $10,000.

The men initially were accused of armed assault with intent to murder and carrying a firearm without a license.

Karel Mangual, who was arrested last week in Worcester, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to upgraded charges of murder. Lawyers on both sides agreed that he be held without bail, considering the nature of the charges. Mangual’s next hearing is scheduled for April 12.

The man arrested in California also would be charged with murder, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said at a news conference Monday night. It was not immediately known when he would be brought to Massachusetts.

Police said in court documents that surveillance video shows “the victims parked in their vehicle and that two people walk up to the vehicle and start shooting.” Video also showed a car consistent with a witness description circling the area before the shooting and leaving afterward, the documents said. The vehicle was later found in Hartford, Connecticut.

Authorities have not released a potential motive for the killings or said whether there was any relationship between the men and the victims.

Chasity Nunez was a member of the Connecticut National Guard and worked as patient safety and clinical quality coordinator at MIT Healthcare Innovation, according to her obituary. She also had a younger daughter.

Zella Nunez was a sixth-grade student at Columbus Park School in Worcester who “wanted to dabble in everything from painting, singing, dancing to skating,” the obituary said.